MIAMI—Real estate firm Franklin Street hired Tom Kersting, formerly of Aon Risk Services of London, as president of insurance services, last October. He hit the ground running.
Kersting is responsible for the operational and financial performance as well as business development for the division—overseeing a portfolio that insures more than $10 billion in property values. He is based in the firm’s Tampa office.
GlobeSt.com caught up with Kersting to find out what he sees on the insurance front. He talked to us about strategic projects and the firm’s recruitment strategy in part one of this exclusive interview.
GlobeSt.com: What have you been up to since joining Franklin Street in September?
Kersting: A lot of listening, a bit of assessment, strategizing and recruiting. Mostly in that order.
From December 2012 thru December 2014, Franklin Street’s insurance business grew 230% in revenue, all organic. The first thing I wanted to understand was the way we were supporting all these new clients, as well as supporting our producers.
I’ve had a lot of questions, for them both, regarding the activity in their portfolios, their processes, their roles, the resources on hand and how it all comes together. We want to be at the industry forefront with respect to pre- and post-binding services offered to commercial real estate owners, competing with and winning business from the most recognized local and national brokers. At the top of our priority list: obtaining, understanding and sharing market knowledge across the Franklin Street platform and with our customers, as well as, developing robust client advocacy resources.
GlobeSt.com: What are some projects you have tackled?
Kersting: We’ve brought on advocacy resources such as claims management services and property focused loss-control consulting. Our captive services group now works on the retail side to support several large portfolios that are gravitating to self-insurance concepts.
Among other things I am excited about, we have formalized an exciting college recruitment and career development program that was recently introduced to Florida State’s spring Risk Management & Insurance graduates, as well as the University of Florida’s spring MSRE graduates. To support future recruits and grow in-house talent, we’ve begun work with a talented individual to build out an insurance and real estate curriculum which will be used in our training and career development program, one which will rival the best in the industry.
We’ve invested in experience and expertise at the Account Executive level, a strategic initiative to bolster support for our producers. That will, subsequently, improve the results our customers see and the level of service they feel.
GlobeSt.com: What do you look for while recruiting?
Kersting: If you look at the make-up of Franklin Street, you’ll see a consistent theme across our business lines: at the director level, our brokers, advisors, producers, and managers all come from national firms and competed successfully for years at a very high level. These professionals could have continued producing and leading for public firms, but, chose to step out and take advantage of our entrepreneurial and collaborative platform.
We are in a rapid growth stage. Our expectation is to open a full service Dallas office in the 4th quarter, and then our focus moves further north for opportunities in those markets.